Türkiye commends Armenia’s solidarity after deadly earthquakes

Türkiye commends Armenia’s solidarity after deadly earthquakes

Türkiye commends Armenia’s solidarity after deadly earthquakes

Türkiye has appreciated neighboring Armenia for sending search and rescue teams to save lives and delivering humanitarian aid immediately after the devastating earthquakes with vows to accelerate ongoing normalization process between the two countries.

Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan paid a visit to Türkiye on Feb. 15 and held talks with Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu in the Turkish capital to express his country’s solidarity with the people and government of Türkiye. Mirzoyan also visited Adıyaman, one of the quake-hit provinces where the Armenian teams are delivering humanitarian aid. A second convoy full of aid arrived in the city on Feb. 15.

“Armenia has offered a hand of friendship and solidarity in our difficult time,” Çavuşoğlu said at a joint press conference with Mirzoyan. “Armenia sent a team of 28 personnel for search and rescue. They worked heartily to save lives. I want to express my thanks once again.”

Türkiye and Armenia are running a process for normalizing the relationship after more than a 30 year-long incommunicado due to the latter’s occupation of Azerbaijani lands in Nagorno-Karabakh region. The two sides launched talks to establish normal ties after the Armenia-Azerbaijan war in 2020 which ended with the victory of the Azeri troops.

Mirzoyan paid his first trip to Türkiye in March 2022 to attend the Antalya Diplomacy Forum.

Armenia sent humanitarian aid to Türkiye during the Gölcük earthquake in 1999 and Türkiye helped Armenia during the 1988 earthquake, Çavuşoğlu recalled, informing that the Alican border crossing between the two countries was opened for the first time last week for the transportation of Armenia’s aid to the earthquake-hit region.

“This understanding of cooperation can contribute to our ongoing normalization process,” the minister said, citing mutual efforts to establishing diplomatic ties and opening the borders. “We have agreed to take steps to accelerate the normalization,” he said, informing that the two sides will cooperate for the reconstruction of bridges and roads connecting the two sides.

Çavuşoğlu said they have also reviewed the general situation in the southern Caucasus and the ongoing talks between Baku and Yerevan for a lasting and comprehensive peace agreement. “A lasting peace in the southern Caucasus will not only contribute to the regional economy but will also play a role in connecting Asia and Europe through the east-west corridor whose importance increased after the pandemic and the Russian-Ukrainian war,” he stated.

For his part, Mirzoyan underlined the need for international solidarity and cooperation in responding to such big disasters and his government wanted to help Türkiye in line with this principle. “I want to thank you for your commending words,” the Armenian minister told Çavuşoğlu.

He informed the second batch of Armenian aid is going to Adıyaman by passing the Turkish-Armenian border gate.

“Our talks today were about the disaster but by being here in the difficult times of Türkiye, I want to confirm our readiness and will for building peace in the region, for full normalization and opening the borders between Türkiye and Armenia,” he said.